Indian and Himalayan Art
Sakya, Early 15th century
Artist/maker unknown, Central Tibetan
Colors on cloth; cloth mounting
Currently not on view
1994-148-634Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994
LabelThis thangka (scroll painting) depicts Adibuddha, a peaceful deity and the primordial or quintessential Buddha. The intense blue of Adibuddha's body signifies ultimate reality and eternal truth. Seated in ritual meditation, he holds a bell and a vajra (the stylized double thunderbolt or diamond scepter that is the symbol of indestructibility from which Vajrayana Buddhism derives its name). The bell and the vajra represent wisdom and compassion, respectively; they coalesce as the path to enlightenment. Adibuddha's elaborate throne is composed of a host of mythical creatures. Important leaders of the Sakya order of Vajrayana Buddhism mark the upper corners of the inner rectangle, while other buddhas and deities fill the remaining spaces. This painting was once part of a large set of thangkas depicting deities important to the Sakya lineage.